Unity Village of White Center – A Garden of Child Culture
Three months ago, on Spring Cleanup Day (May 19), the children of Unity Village planted two small gardens – one flowers, one vegetables.
Now, both patches are thriving and bearing fruit.
Involving the children in the planting had been a good idea – they never bothered or picked the plants – except to eat a few raw broccoli stems. They also helped their mothers harvest cauliflower, potatoes, and some herbs. Now, the entire village is waiting for the corn and tomatoes to mature.
Not only have the plants grown this summer – the children have, too. Day after day, they play together in and out of the designated play area. Caring adults keep an eye on them. They are being taught to pick up after themselves, respect each other’s property, and talk out any differences. Ages range from 18 months to 16 years. The youngest imitate the older ones as far as they are able. And the older ones are learning valuable child caring skills that will carry them far in life. It’s a dynamic yet peaceable co-existence.
On any given day, two nine-year olds hang together in the early sunny morning, deep in conversation. As more kids sleepily appear on their doorsteps, interest and curiosity spring to life and the gathering grows as a body or splinters into mini-groups. By noon, the tempo of the day is well established, but comings and goings can rearrange the makeup of the groups. When its nap time for the little ones, the pre-teens languish about lazily, and by evening, the teenagers have shown up to watch and guide while the moms cook dinner.
Would that every child – and every garden – have this rich and nourished chance in life.